• 15
  • Mel Gibson (1995)
  • US
  • 179 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

Mel Gibson directs this 13th-century saga of Scottish revolt against English tyranny with a claymore-like flourish, defying the criticism that there are moments as bogus as plastic haggis. He also stars, portraying William Wallace as a medieval, woad-smeared Mad Max-like hero, a rebel leader and rabble rouser, an intrepid champion from the mould of Hollywood heroes, made believable by the grace of the star. However, if he's a wartime resistance leader in the style of Robin Hood with a comely Maid Marion in the shape of Sophie Marceau then Patrick McGoohan as the villainous King Edward "Longshanks" is a jeering, sneering cliché too far - the Sheriff of Nottingham with his own portable torture chamber. As director, Gibson's control over thousands of extras, in the swift succession of gruesome hand-to-hand battles, is as effective as anything in Laurence Olivier's Henry V. But when the action moves in for the emotional kill, the film loses credibility - Wallace's disdain at his own disembowelment being a prime example. Yet, for all its stereotypes and disparities, there is a nicely judged air of political cynicism, as noblemen switch allegiances as easily as horses. It succeeds in bringing to life the reality of Scottish patriotism and brilliantly captures the spirit of revolution. Little wonder it won an Oscar for best picture.

Plot Summary

Oscar-winning historical drama directed by and starring Mel Gibson. Scotland at the end of the 13th century: the young William Wallace sees his father and brother killed by the English. Later, when his sworn enemies execute his wife, Wallace leads the clans in the fight for Scottish independence.

Cast and crew


William Wallace
Mel Gibson
Princess Isabelle
Sophie Marceau
"Longshanks", King Edward I
Patrick McGoohan
Catherine McCormack
Brendan Gleeson
James Cosmo
David O'Hara
Robert the Bruce
Angus MacFadyen
Ian Bannen
Prince Edward
Peter Hanly
Malcolm Wallace
Sean Lawlor
Argyle Wallace
Brian Cox
Alun Armstrong


Mel Gibson

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
20th Century Fox Film Co. Ltd
Violence, swearing, a sex scene and brief nudity.
Available on video, DVD and BluRay
Certificate 15
20th Century Fox Home entertainment